Twelve stations in the Orlando, Fla., market took a minute Wednesday night to leap ahead to Feb. 18, 2009, and the end of full-power analog television broadcasting.
In the 60-second exercise, the 12 stations simultaneously suspended their analog signals, allowing viewers to determine whether or not their televisions were DTV-ready.
Those with analog-only reception saw a black screen for 10 seconds, while those watching the DTV signal got a message letting them know they were good to go.
A phone number was given to viewers to follow up with if they failed the test. Out of an estimated 350,000 viewers, the phone bank received 501 calls. Of those, 146 came from Comcast subscribers; that company plans to ensure digital service by the time of the full-power analog shutoff.
Local broadcasters called the test a success.
“The low numbers indicate that local television stations in the Orlando market are preparing their viewers for the transition, and from the low percentage of calls, the indication is that Orlando is well on its way to a smooth transition to digital,” the broadcasters said in a group statement.
The Orlando broadcasters plan additional local tests in September and December.
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